My Father's Arms Are A Boat

My Father's Arms Are A Boat


Written by Stein Erik Lunde
Illustrated by Øyvind Torseter 
Translated from Norwegian by Kari Dickson

A 2014 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book

It's quieter than it's ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about the birds, the foxes, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go outside under the starry sky. Loss and love are as present as the white spruces, while the father's clear answers and assurances calm his worried son. Here we feel the cycles of life and life's continuity, even in the face of absence and loss, so strongly and clearly that we know at the end that everything will, somehow, be all right.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-124-7
8.2" (W) x 9.8" (H) • 40 pages • HCJ

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A 2014 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book
A USBBY 2014 Outstanding International Book
Brain Pickings' Best Children's, Illustrated, and Picture Books of 2013
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of 2013

★ "A young boy, grieving and unable to sleep, climbs into his father’s steady arms to find warmth and reassurance in this luminous story about loss, love and healing ... A breathtaking masterpiece." ―STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews 

★ "The quiet, intimate text and enigmatic paper-collage and ink illustrations make a world of their own that commends interest beyond the therapeutic." ―STARRED REVIEW, The Horn Book

"This distinctive look at life, death, and grief is beautiful and thought-provoking." ―School Library Journal

"Stunning in its writing and illustration, this is a picture book that is noteworthy and memorable." ―Tasha Saecker, Waking Brain Cells

"The striking, paper-cut-out illustrations add an unforgettable touch to this poignant tale of love, loss and comfort. Highly recommended." ―The Midwest Book Review

"[Lunde's] writing is lovely in its spareness, but also hard edged, even in the story's many moments of tenderness. ('We look straight into each other's eyes. His eyes, black as night, are dark and deep in his face.') Pain is never far from the surface, yet when the boy's father assures him, ‘Everything will be all right,’ in the final scene, readers will believe him." ―Publishers Weekly


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